Squaring the triangle

Wednesday 12 Dec 2012

Bjarke Ingels Group work with DIALOG to complete innovative response to a difficult site

This mixed-use residential tower will mark the entry point to downtown Vancouver. The tower reinvents the local typology of a slender tower coupled with a podium, while responding to a difficult site, preserving views and activating the pedestrian realm. The site is three triangular parcels at the north end of the Granville Bridge. The three triangular blocks create intimately-scaled spaces for working, shopping, and leisure which face onto public plazas and pathways.

The additional public space adds to the existing streets, giving the neighbourhood a variety of open and covered outdoor spaces of various scales. In this way, it resembles the urban fabric found in historical neighbourhoods, rather than the big cube podiums in modern (sub)urban developments. The roofs of the three buildings are tilted to peek over the bridge and transform a residue of the city’s infrastructure into one of the most prominent locations in the city.

Due to site and city restrictions the footprint of the tower is restricted to a small triangle, tiny even by Vancouver standards. However, as the tower ascends, it clears the noise, exhaust and visual invasion of the bridge. The design reclaims the lost area as the tower rises above the imposing zone of the bridge, gradually cantilevering out over the site.

This movement turns the inefficient triangle into an optimal rectangular floor plate. In doing so, it also increases the desirable spaces for living at its top, while freeing up a new common space at its base. The resultant silhouette resembles a curtain being drawn aside, welcoming people as they travel across the Granville Bridge.

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